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AIBU to stop helping at school - Muggins alert

56 replies

MugginsMcMuggins · 07/07/2017 09:35

I am really upset this morning with myself because I am a mug.

We moved to a new town a few years ago which meant DC had to start a new school and make new friends. Since then, I have spent a lot of time helping out at the school e.g. reading with DC, going on trips, parking duty, helping out on social days and events. I think on average I spend about 4 hours a week helping out. A few weeks ago I was there for 8 hours in one day helping. The other parents just sat round enjoying the day and did nothing to help. I'd say there are 5 who help a lot out of the 450+ parents. The school is very grateful for our help. FYI in my school, I'd say at least 60% of the mums and dads are SAHP's.

The reason I am upset is because there are a few things that have happened recently that have made me think I no longer want to give my time up to help.

Firstly, one of my DC is really great at performing. In the past they have been given great roles in the plays and performances. Over the past year my DC was given very minor parts as lots of the parents banged very loud drums over their DC not getting good roles. I understand that everyone should be included but these are the children that are picked out for A teams in sport and get to shine in lots of other areas. I don't complain when my child is not selected for the many other things theirs are.

Secondly, one of my other DC just got bumped from a clubs list for something next year because someones parent kicked off about their DC not being in it. I complained and was told it was too late to change now.

I feel that my niceness is not doing my DC any favours. I know this is paranoid, but I feel that people must sit round a table and say, well Mrs Stroppy wants this and good old MugginsMcMuggins won't mind.

I am very upset with myself. My DH is very upset with me. He said he doesn't go to work so I can be a SAHM and help everyone else's DC out. I am angry and am asking myself why on earth I would want to help out at the school, benefiting other parents, when they have no hesitation to ride rough shot over my DC?

OP posts:
Only1scoop · 07/07/2017 09:40

'I feel that my niceness is not doing my DC any favours.'

Is this what you originally set out to do though with being so 'helpful'?

TBH it does sound like a nauseating headache and I'd find ways to better spend my time. Just do the bits you enjoy and step back a little perhaps.

elevenclips · 07/07/2017 09:43

OP I am confused.

Firstly you say 60% are sahp as though their time is disposable. I am sahp and basically it means all responsibility is always on me for everything. I cannot help school out.

Why would you think that your help is getting your kids bumped from things? Helping out does not entitle you to anything.

You need to stop helping out and you also need to not accept your kids being bumped out of a club. You turn up citing that they were on list which you photographed.

Only1scoop · 07/07/2017 09:48

I also don't understand the being 'bumped' off club list etc? Surely there was an explanation. Surely the 'minor' parts in production is normal if they had a major part in the last one?

flapjackfairy · 07/07/2017 09:49

I suppose it depends on your motivation for helping in the first place.
If you are happy to help out to benefit the school as a whole carry on. But if it is to buy brownie points for your kids forget it.
Tbh it all sounds a bit petty on your behalf and honestly it is v irritating when the same kids are always centre stage !
I would chill out a bit and let it go over your head .

unfortunateevents · 07/07/2017 09:50

I don't think that helping out and standing up for your children are two mutually exclusive things. If you enjoy helping at school, continue to do that. As you said, schools are desperate for help and I'm sure it is appreciated. If you are becoming resentful about the amount of time you are dedicating to it, cut it down. I know it's irritating and disappointing to think that children whose parents shout louder or push harder to the front of the line get bigger parts, more recognition etc but you can either join in (which it doesn't sound like it is in your nature to do) or you can teach your children that life is not always fair. Do your children actually notice or care that they are not always top of the pile? On the removal of your child from a club however I absolutely would not accept that and I would have made it very clear that I expected their place to be reinstated. It's really all about balance and knowing when something is patently unfair.

TSSDNCOP · 07/07/2017 09:52

I agree, you can't trade helping for bonus points for the kids. What you are finding is the truth that helping out is an utterly thankless task.

Crochetthedayaway · 07/07/2017 09:52

My DH and myself work and don't volunteer in our kids school.( We do attend all the evening and weekend events.)I wouldn't expect my kids to be discriminated against because of this when the school was selecting kids for the various over subscribed school clubs. I would expect the needs of the kids combined with a fair sharing out out of places to happen.
Also I am sure your DC are great at performing but I am sure that other kids would also like a chance to shine.
You should volunteer for it's own sake not to give your DC an advantage, if you are not enjoying the volunteering don't do it.

Laiste · 07/07/2017 09:52

I feel that my niceness is not doing my DC any favours

Think about what you've said right there OP. I think it's the crux.

Is your niceness meant to be doing your child favors? The logical flip side of this notion is that the children of parents who aren't 'nice' will lose out in some way.

Weather y

Laiste · 07/07/2017 09:54

Sorry, the 'weather y' was going to be weather you meant it this way or not.

Changedtocovermyass · 07/07/2017 10:00

Helping at school in my experience is utterly thankless (literally children are rude, teachers infifferent and other parents actually hostile). Parents act as though you and your DC are getting "favourite" treatment. Meanwhile teachers wont smile at you, acknowledge you or take a minute to see how you're finding anything. Presumably to avoid being seen as treating you favourably.
It's mad.

Adelino · 07/07/2017 10:00

I feel that my niceness is not doing my DC any favours

I think that the OP means her niceness is actually disadvantaging her DC as people see her as a pushover and someone who can be talked round in contrast to other parents who are less involved with the school so have no hesitation in sending a stroppy email to get their way.

I can see where you're coming from here OP I don't think you necessarily need to stop volunteering but you can do that whislt fighting your son's case too.

ZoeWashburne · 07/07/2017 10:02

I feel like there is more to this story.

I'm not trying to be rude here, but when you say your DC is great at performing, are you really being objective? It make sense to rotate around the parts. And everyone thinks their DC is the best ever at (insert any child's event here).

As for the clubs list, what was the reason you were given for being bumped off?

I am just wondering if this is a matter of perception. I bet when your DC had bigger parts, other people felt the same way.

But the crux of this all is: Why do you think volunteering more= preferences for your children? Not diminishing the roles of a SAHP, but just because a Child's mum or dad has job that they cannot get out of, surely you don't think that child should be punished by not being allowed to do any plays or clubs?

I don't think you are a mug for volunteering for your school. But I do think you are rather entitled if you think volunteering means your kids should get special preference.

I think you need to take a step back. It is very easy to 'Mama Bear' when we think our kids are not being treated fairly. But are you relying on facts and fairness, or are you relying on hearsay and perceived actions, to come to this conclusion.

There is nothing wrong with meeting with a coach, teacher, club leader, etc to say 'DC was upset to not get a part/ be in the club, what can DC work on for next year so they have a better chance of making it?'

But there is something very wrong with 'Don't you know how much I volunteer here?!'- it smacks a bit of the celebrity d-list 'Don't you know who I am?!'.

StaplesCorner · 07/07/2017 10:10

Only volunteer in a school if you enjoy it; although the benefits are (normally) that you get to see how things work, the dynamics etc who gets on with who. But it is definitely a mugs game, a thankless task etc.
If you are working on a particular thing, say an outing, and your kids are excluded then you definitely have cause for complaint - that's ridiculous - but otherwise then yes, favours often go to parents who make a fuss. Sad but true. Mine were once at a primary where people on the PTA demanded to be first and get everything for their kids, but that was because they were arseholes and the senior staff were ineffective - not because they were on the PTA, that was just the excuse they all used!

HearTheThunderRoar · 07/07/2017 10:32

Your children shouldn't get priority for plays and clubs because you are able to help out at school, that discriminates against working parents.

abilockhart · 07/07/2017 10:32

I feel that my niceness is not doing my DC any favours.


HearTheThunderRoar · 07/07/2017 10:33

*that discriminates against children of working parents...

MugginsMcMuggins · 07/07/2017 10:35

I actually didn't mean that literally and Adelino has put it spot on how I feel. I have never, ever expected anything in return for the help I have given. I helped as I thought I would get to know more parents and my DC would make friends quicker. It is a small school with lots of cliques. On the positive side it has helped me to get too know more people.

My DC was bumped from list as parent didn't meet deadline a few weeks ago, kicked up fuss and then particular club list went up for re application and DC didn't make it due to numbers. I think a couple of other missed out too. Not sure how they feel.

OP posts:
JennyOnAPlate · 07/07/2017 10:36

It sounds to me like you expect your dc to be treated differently to all the other children because you help out at school. Which is massively unreasonable.

StayAChild · 07/07/2017 10:36

Honestly, teachers and management just don't have the time to deal with the fall-out of parent helpers. They do, however, ask favours/request help from people they get used to seeing around school often and who are known to be reliable.

Clubs were sorted/juggled by our HT, based purely on numbers and child requests. There are always certain clubs that are over subscribed so children get offered an alternative.

IMO and experience the only in-fighting is between the parent helpers which goes mostly unnoticed by staff.
If you get too invested in these things I can understand how it all can seem unfair. I would take a step back and leave it to others to have a turn.

TheMaddHugger · 07/07/2017 10:36

Adelino Fri 07-Jul-17 10:00:17
I feel that my niceness is not doing my DC any favours

I think that the OP means her niceness is actually disadvantaging her DC as people see her as a pushover and someone who can be talked round in contrast to other parents who are less involved with the school so have no hesitation in sending a stroppy email to get their way.

This ^^
(((((Hugs)))))) OP. The squeaky wheel gets the grease

eagleHasLanded · 07/07/2017 10:38

Is this beacuase they know you - "understand" where other parents won't?

Drama clubs outside school might be worth a look - if you really have one interested rather than rely on the school.

RubyWinterstorm · 07/07/2017 10:39

Why help at the school?

I did it to spy at my school (shoot me now Wink) or to put it less dramatically, i did it to find out how things work in English schools. I also did it because I like kids that age (y1 reading) and enjoyed doing it.

My mission was accomplished, I got to understand the schools's workings, I got to understand how learning happens in schools here (I had recently immigrated to the UK and felt "lost" in the educational system, and did not even know what SATS were, for example) and I had a few nice mornings reading with kids . I did it for 2 years. I think it is very rewarding. I don't think anyone minded my foreign accent btw. Kids never commented on it.

Anyway, my DC were never selected for starring roles in plays or sports, but to me that is a totally separate issue?

Your husband's attitude sounds a bit mean spirited IMO

You are not mug, but I suggest you only help in the school if you enjoy it for your own sake (or if you want to get to know the school better), there are no other privileges attached!

MissionItsPossible · 07/07/2017 10:40

I understand your frustration but your helping out doesn't mean your child gets priorities. If you flipped the situation and said"I work full time so can't really commit to any after school activities or help out but the kid of the parent who does help out always gets the best roles and is on all the teams and clubs etc" would that be fair? No it wouldn't. If you want to help for altruistic reasons or to just help, then fine, but don't do it expecting something out of it.

abbsisspartacus · 07/07/2017 10:41

Yup adelino nailed it and tbf your right you are being seen as a pushover step back a little and say its someone else's turn

MugginsMcMuggins · 07/07/2017 10:42

Thanks TheMadd. That is how I feel.

OP posts:
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